Blog

Published 7/17/2019 — If you're job is to manage dozens or hundreds of field personnel for merchandising you've probably been accustomed to messaging people via text, via email and realized that keeping things organized can be a real pain.  We know this and we're proud to announce that we've implemented field team messaging that leverages the systems Manage User Groups capability to provide a way to message groups of people easily - through text message (SMS) or through the mobile app directly.   The elegance of this is that you can organize and reach folks on their mobile device via multiple methods.  The mobile app allows for images to be sent as well. All correspondence is saved so you have a central record of it later as well.

If you're using SMS text messaging then user text message fees do apply, but if your users are all mobile application users they can get your messages inside the app while avoiding the telecom charges!



Published 7/5/2019 – We're pleased to roll out our monthly insight panel update with an entirely new insight panel.  The Item Group Comparisons panel is an easy to use panel, especially if you're comfortable with the Custom Regions Overview insight panel.  This panel is simple and is designed to allow you to quickly and easily compare sales performance among a number of different custom item groups.  The beauty of custom item groups is that you can make any number of them and include only the items you care about and are not hampered by any categorization hierarchy you might otherwise use.  While the options are nearly limitless, we expect common use cases for this will typically include grouping items into custom groups based on price points to view how price tiers are performing in the marketplace.


Published 6/11/19 – In perishable product categories such as live goods and groceries it is imperative to monitor your markdowns due to damage, expiration and more.  In Avantalytics this data is powered by our field service management and Avantalytics Mobility - our native app.  Through this service your field people can use their mobile devices to log markdowns and the data is stored in the overall system.  But monitoring your markdowns globally can still be a chore - until now.  This month we're announcing a new insight panel named Markdown Trend which is a simple but interactive graph style insight designed to allow you to monitor and quantify your markdowns over time.  An example shown below gives a simple 4 week trend of total markdowns.  The panel is interactive so clicking on any of the columns will take you to the Merchandiser Markdowns History (88) report for the given time period so you can easily drill into the details of the data - including time, place, total amount, and even photographic proof.

Published 5/23/19 – After seeing the latest Home Depot and Lowe's earnings for Q1 2019 and the fact that both cited the "Wettest February in over 20yrs" as an impact on their results, we decided to upgrade our Days of Rain Insight to allow you to compare the number of days of rain in the period of your choice to the comparable period the year prior.  The results for our real world test are below and show the the West experienced most of the rainfall difference, with some impact in the Carolinas.  If you're a weather analytics subscriber this panel and functionality are now available to you as well - you're seconds away from Springtime comparative analysis!


To learn more about what this insight panel can do - click on the link below:

Days of Rain Insight Panel Overview

Published 5/4/19 – With one of the largest Spring holidays over for Outdoors DIY its a good time to start taking a look at your inventory.  One key metric to look at is Weeks of Supply (WOS) - which gives you a good metric to look at how long your inventory will last, but when used at an aggregated level its best to do some group analysis.  To help in this - we've added a Store Sales Vs. Weeks of Supplyinsight.  The insight panel allows you to select custom item groups, stores and all the other parameters you're used to using with other insight panels.  Its intent is to give you a quick look at hundreds of stores to see where your outliers from a WOS standpoint so you can begin to address looming inventory issues.  The insight allows you to view as a ScatterPlot graph - helpful for spotting outliers, but it also allows you to switch to tabular view easily by choosing the gear option.

The Scatterplot allows you to click/drag to select multiple stores (points) and create custom regions directly from the insight panel!   When it comes to using this panel we suggest your create item groups consisting of "Core" items in your program and segment off any non-core items, then use these groups to evaluate your WOS for each.  Because the core items will likely sell better and more steadily, its helpful to view their WOS apart from potentially slower selling items.  Try it out today!

Published 3/19/19 --

While Spring may be very elusive so far this Spring, we decided to deliver the arrival of the April Insight update early to make up for it.  This one couldn't be more timely either.  If you're familiar with the Weekly Retail Sales Trend panel or Region Weekly Sales Trend panels and are lucky enough to be loading daily sales and inventory data, you've probably wondered how to get daily granularity information to match.  That's where the Daily Retail Sales Trend panel comes in.  It loses the multi-retailer capability, but gains in highly granular views of daily sales data and adds the custom region capability for drilling in on specific areas as needed.  Below are a couple screenshots of the result.  

If you're in a highly seasonal business anxiously awaiting Spring - this panel will allow you to monitor the daily progress to ensure you're on top of your game when Spring finally breaks out.




Published 3/1/19 --

In our March monthly insight panel update we put a little twist on the monthly update pledge.  Instead of featuring a new insight panel, we've added a helpful feature as an enhancement to a number of insights - the ability to right-click for a context sensitive menu giving you the option to immediately run a number of relevant reports.  In our on-going quest to make data as easy as possible to explore - this extends the standard link drill-through to a whole host of options.  Below are a couple of insight panels with examples of reports.  Clicking on a report automatically takes the parameters from the insight panel and applies it to the given report - so things like time periods, categories, geographies and more are automatic. 


Efficiency Enhanced

With this new feature, we've effectively eliminated two clicks to enter the reporting library, plus the inevitable searching through the library to find the report you want (see below).  Then we've saved at least another minute in choosing options for the report before finally running the report.  This all without considering that by copying the options from the panel to the report saves in errors and omissions on filtering choices.  All-in this enhancement saves time and increases usability and utility of dozens of insight panels!


Published 2/16/19 — Our latest monthly addition to our insight panel library brings a new addition to the Weather Analytics service component.  The insight panel is "Temperature Trend" and is designed to make it super easy for you to visualize temperature data in a given region over time.  The benefit of this is that you can also see metrics about the changes.  Because temperature changes are random in the short term, looking at differences year-on-year is difficult to draw longer term conclusions from.  However, this insight allows you to not only view temperature data differences on a daily basis, but also provides cumulative metrics such as "Net Days Warmer" or "Cumulative Days Warmer" or "Consecutive Days  Warmer" to bring out on-going trends in the short term and over the life of the time period you select. 


In the panel above we've elected to show the current vs. prior year temperatures for the area around Atlanta, GA.  As you can see with the daily temperatures - its hard to know what's going on, but by including the metric "Net Days Warmer" - you can see there was a distinct warming period from the beginning through the middle of January as the net days slope moved upward.  However, on / about  1/20 - the temps began to reverse steadily indicating a colder period through the end of the month.  It is these cycles that are important to visualize as they can be compared directly to your sales performance to show the effect of cooling and warming periods on sales of your items.

Published  2/11/19 ---

For our merchandising company clients, managing and coordinating and tracking field visits by employees during season can be a hassle - especially when you're talking about hundreds of stores and thousands of field employees.  Add turnover in and the job can seem like managed chaos.  Luckily, we're into managing chaos and to help with this problem we've added a store/employee hours scheduling interface that is easy to use with drag and drop capabilities.  Its built on the Avantalytics platform so it works perfectly with your custom region, custom user groups and to make organizing and segregating across field managers a breeze.

Through virtue of being centralized, as managers add and shift time across stores and users, there is always a real-time view of total hours scheduled vs actual hours worked on an on-going basis. Scheduled hours and locations integrate perfectly with the field sales mobility package so when a user clocks-in at a given store it can be easily referenced vs schedule to alert you of differences or missed visits vs. plan.  Moreover managers can subscribe to and set custom notifications to be alerted to missed or delayed visits so they can spend their time managing the problems rather than monitoring hundreds or thousands of data points looking for issues.  Below is a screenshot of the scheduling interface!

Tired of chasing employees around and jockeying spreadsheets?  Give us a call today to see how we can simplify scheduling and so much more!



Ease of View

Once you've scheduled hours for your people, its incredibly easy to view their schedule, and indeed the schedule view can be made available to the users on the native app to allow your field personnel to get their schedules easily.


Published 1/23/19 — We recently finished an upgrade to your category and competitive monitoring service.  In addition to enabling new metrics, we upgraded the interface to make evaluating your items vs your competitors nearly seamless.  The upgrade also centralizes important visualizations so you can remain in the category monitoring research results wile viewing key visualizations including price change maps, price trend analysis, price point distributions.  Take advantage of our "Neighbor Analysis" to let you see which items are most often next to yours and much more.

(above shown is a sample result for a customer's competitive analysis of their item vs known competitors in the marketplace)

New visualizations include the following - price distribution, price change geography,  available quickly with just a click on the item of your choice:



Whether your a new customer or an existing customer - adding competitive category monitoring is a simple addition.  We use your existing item information to begin the process of mapping competitors so you can begin using the service quickly.  If you're interested or would like to see a demo - simply email sales@avantalytics.com


Published 1/13/19 — For our customers utilizing or automated ordering engine we're happy to announce the initial release of report 122 - which is a report output mirroring the results of you running a particular ordering template.  The benefit of this report is that it allows you better access to the computer generated results.  While the user interface for altering automated orders is flexible, sometimes you may just want to see what the computer deemed necessary.  The nice part is the options are simple - just pick one of your saved templates and hit run.  You can share the report results easily with folks on your team or even your customer with a simple web URL.  Lastly, for some folks who have DIY ordering techniques, embedding this report into Excel can make it refreshable and with a few vlookups you can quickly use it to guide your orders as you "roll your own" orders.

Suggested Order Details Report (122)


Published - 1/10/19 — Good Morning, we've been working on integrating a new feature known as "User Groups" to complement our Merchandising and Field Sales Management service.  If you're a client of this service, being able to group and filter and report on users based on pre-defined lists is a welcome new feature.  To utilize this feature - we've added a new option within "Manage Your Team" - called "Manage User Goups".  See below.  Once you click in here you can see and edit existing user groups in the list on the left.  Clicking on the name of the group will display the users on the right.  Adding a new user group can be done easily as well - simply click on the toolbar button and select the users you'd like to be members of the group.  We've added filtering capabilities into the Payroll Time & Mileage filters and reports and notifications for now - but look forward to seeing this functionality expand elsewhere into relevant insight panels and more in the coming weeks!



Adding A New Group

When adding a new group - you have two options - pick one or more names from list below or if you already have a list in Excel or elsewhere with the users' customerID - you can copy past in the lower portion!

Published 1/7/19 — We've just added a new insight panel for the Category Management and Monitoring service - its called "Retail Promotions".  The goal of this analytic panel is to allow you to monitor and review recent promotions, both for your items as well as your competitors.  The gear customization options for this panel are flexible to allow you to limit the time period, regions, and items which you wish to see.  Moreover, this panel allows you to view which type of promotion - sale, free shipping, rebate etc. The panel, as with all insight panels, is interactive - the listing shows each item which is a link to our comparison shop report for this item to allow you to quickly see how the product stacks up in the marketplace.  Also, we provide a link to the map of stores carrying  the product so you can see geographically where the pricing is changing with just a click. 



Published 12/29/18 — A customer request lead to this enhancement - its a simple one to understand, but important to us as we're always looking to improve the user experience and usability of the facets of our services.  Toward this end, we've added a user configurable parameter that allows you to choose whether you'd like to have the totals in the web reports summarized above or below the report data.  Nothing else has changed - you can still filter and sort and the totals will adjust to your filters automatically as before.  Below are some simple screenshots to provide an example of the feature.



To take advantage of this customization - simply click the "Gears" at the top right of the main application screen - when your user preferences appear, look to the bottom left where all your currently available customizable behavior preferences are located (as shown below) and select either "After" or "Before" to set your preference.  The default behavior remains "After" and it should be noted any reports shared will use the default rather than your customized choice.


Published 12/20/18 — As part of an overall update to our competitive monitoring and category management service, we upgraded this insight panel to allow you view the number of instances where your items are over or under priced by allowing you to group the counts over any of your 24 categorization paradigms you may have set up.  Previously the insight only reported totals by market/patch - and this remains the default choice, but now you can use the gear to select alternate grouping methods.  A common use case for this upgrade could be that you may wish to view price competitiveness by brand for your products.  If you have the brand categorized properly, you can choose it and be  viewing your competitive price posture by brand in less than 60 seconds.

You can still filter items to make a more refined comparison as you like as well.  The result of this upgrade also makes the existing insight panel for "Brand Pricing Over/Under" obsolete and it will likely be removed in the near future as users transition away from its use.  Below are couple example screenshots of what you can do with a few mouse clicks!  And just for good measure - the row bars shown are interactive - clicking on one of them will provide you with a competitive shop report for the market or items you've chosen.  Happy hunting!



Stay tuned for more updates on category monitoring features released soon!